IRFT Member Spotlight – Rachel Wells

Advocacy, Banned and Challenged Books, IFRT Member Spotlight

Rachel Wells is the Reference Librarian at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. She received her Master of Science in Information from Florida State University, and is a 2023 ALA Emerging Leader. Her Emerging Leaders group is working in conjunction with the Intellectual Freedom Round Table, focusing on unreported material challenges across the United States. In her free time, she enjoys making miniatures and cheering for the New York Yankees. She was excited to learn that ALA is sponsoring a Red Cox vs White Sox baseball game fundraising event at Annual 2023 in Chicago to support the Merritt Fund, which offers monetary assistance to librarians whose positions have been terminated or threatened based on their stand for preserving intellectual freedom.

1.  What made you want to be part of the ALA Emerging Leaders Program?

When I joined ALA in 2021, I scoured the website to see what opportunities were available to me as a member. I didn’t want to miss anything! When I found Emerging Leaders, it felt like such a valuable opportunity. Being able to gain leadership skills, work on a meaningful project, and meet library professionals was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I had missed the deadline to be part of the class of 2022, but I was ready to go when the applications for the class of 2023 went up!

2.  What is your favorite part about being an Emerging Leader?

The people! Going to LibLearnX in January, 2023,  allowed me to meet my cohorts in person, and it was a great example of how our library values and most of our concerns are the same even though our responsibilities and focuses vary greatly.

3.  How do you keep up-to-date with OIF and IFRT happenings and concerns?

Say what you want about social media, but I find it to be such a valuable tool when it comes to keeping track of intellectual freedom challenges and issues. I follow the Office of Intellectual Freedom Twitter account, which I’ve found to be a great resource on keeping up-to-date on intellectual freedom issues and news.

4.  If you could meet a character from your favorite banned book, who would you meet and why?

This is such a tough question! I think anyone from The Hunger Games would be fascinating to meet. The Hunger Games series of books were such a big part of my teenage years, and I would love to pick just anyone’s brains and learn everything about that universe-from Katniss Everdeen to a random citizen.

Composed by the Intellectual Freedom Round Table Publications and Communications Committee. Follow us on Twitter @IFRT_ALA.

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